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cjsadler

Ray's the Steaks

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When I think of Chateubriand, the words "classy" comes to mind.

Been discussing with them about doing a larger dinner group [20+ from my Dining Group] once Silver Spring opens. Can't wait to introduce a pack of new converts to their steaks :)

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When I think of Chateubriand, the words "classy" comes to mind.

Been discussing with them about doing a larger dinner group [20+ from my Dining Group] once Silver Spring opens. Can't wait to introduce a pack of new converts to their steaks :)

Welcome to eGullet and to the DC-DelMArVa board, Collije. We look forward to hearing from you often.

You don't have any clues as to when the Silver Spring branch might be opening, do you? ABC applications in the front window or "help wanted" signs on the door? Maybe a glimpse of burly stevedores unloading cords of uncut Prime Rib, signaling -- witgh the same ccuracy with which groundhogs signal six more weeks of winter -- that we are only six weeks of wet-aging from a grand opening bash?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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You don't have any clues as to when the Silver Spring  branch might be opening, do you?  ABC applications in the front window or "help wanted" signs on the door? 

ABC app? Saw it a while ago.

About two weeks ago I saw "OPENING SOON - Positions Available - Inquire Within"


If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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You don't have any clues as to when the Silver Spring  branch might be opening, do you?  ABC applications in the front window or "help wanted" signs on the door? 

ABC app? Saw it a while ago.

About two weeks ago I saw "OPENING SOON - Positions Available - Inquire Within"

On another board (CH), Mr Landrum posted on Feb 8th that they're looking at 6-10 weeks.

Thanks,

Kevin


DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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You don't have any clues as to when the Silver Spring  branch might be opening, do you?  ABC applications in the front window or "help wanted" signs on the door? 

ABC app? Saw it a while ago.

About two weeks ago I saw "OPENING SOON - Positions Available - Inquire Within"

On another board (CH), Mr Landrum posted on Feb 8th that they're looking at 6-10 weeks.

Thanks,

Kevin

Sorry for not responding earlier Busboy. Works sometimes distracts me :)

I last talked with them about 4 weeks ago. I know they were pushing hard for late March, which seems inline with Kevin's response.

Hmmm..wonder if we should be coordinating an eG meal there on or soon after opening of the Silver Spring location. Might want to wait for the things to smooth out, but with a much larger location a "Calling All Carnivores" event might be in order :)

Oh, & thanks for the warm welcome. Bout time I stopped trolling lol.


Edited by collije (log)

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Sorry if this is old news, but I just called and the recording says due to circumstances beyond their control, Ray's can no longer take reservations. They will seat parties up to 6 on a first come, first served basis (don't about larger parties). All current reservations will be honored.

The recording also says Ray's will be closed Sunday March 26th until further notice. Maybe in prep for Silver Spring.

Thanks,

Kevin

Ray's = 703-841-RAYS


DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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I guess the ongoing on-line reservation controversy got to him. Not to mention the hassles of getting Rays The Steaks (Even Higher) open. Most interesting part of the recorded message to me: "Keep in mind we are a very small restaurant with no bar and no waiting area, and we do not recommend making a special trip to come visit us."

But, if you're in the 'hood...


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Made my first visit to Ray's last night. I had been fearing the worst as his answering machine currently says he's closing 3/26 until further notice (I'm guessing in order to focus on starting up the new store, though that wasn't stated anywhere) and not taking reservations, I was worried I wouldn't be able to get in. I ended up showing up around 7:50pm Sunday night (3/20/06) and getting seated around 8:20 or so. Not bad at all.

I had the scallops and my girlfriend had the cold-cooked Norwegian salmon. I'll have to agree with everyone that the scallops were absolutely wonderful. The smoked salmon was awesome as well, but I thought the scallops were definately better.

For entrees I had the cajun rib-eye, cooked medium rare as I had heard both on these forums and from the waitstaff at the time that the cooking temps were probably a little lower than what most people were used to. My girlfriend had the 16oz NY Strip cooked medium rare along with the blue cheese crumbles. To drink was a nice (and well priced) bottle of Penfolds Bin 128 Syrah. My rib-eye was definately good, though I think the NY Strip was better. I wanted to go with a steak I was familiar with (as opposed to the hangar which I'm not familiar with) in order to have a basis of comparison. If I get to go back (either before they close or if they open back up in Arlington, which I hope they do) I'll more than likely try the hangar or flatiron.

Both of us commented that we actually wished we had gotten the steaks cooked rare, which is our traditional way of having our steaks cooked. I guess it was just we didn't know how much Ray's undercooked compared to other restaurants, which I've always considered to overcook. His medium rare looked pretty much exactly what a medium rare should look like (as opposed to the almost medium you find at a lot of places), so I definately would have been fine with the rare. I think it's more that Ray's cooks the steaks to the proper temperature and that most other restaurants overcook, and if that's what people are used to then they may be a bit surprised. If you are used to steaks being cooked to the proper temperature, I don't think Ray's will surprise.

The creamed spinach was quite possibly the best creamed spinach I've had. There was still texture to it, which unfortunately is commonly lost in creamed spinach as people turn it to mush. The mashed potatoes were good (and I'm a fan of everything potato), but the spinach was the hit of the table.

For dessert I had the Key Lime Pie as I had heard that it was very good. It indeed was some of the best Key Lime Pie I've had north of the Keys themself. Nice crusty graham cracker crust (instead of the almost mushy feel that alot of graham cracker crusts end up having) with just the right amount of tartness. My girlfriend had the white chocolate mousse, which she absolutely loved. I'm not a fan of mousse and she's not a fan of tart desserts, so even after trying a bite of each others, we felt we had chosen just right.

Oh, and the hot chocolate was back. I was glad I got to try it, as it was quite tasty.

Overall, probably one of the best meals I've had in quite some time, for a price that wasn't all that painful (~$150 after tax and tip, including a bottle of pretty decent wine). Honestly the steak almost let me down a bit after the hype. I've had steaks about as good (from the District Chophouse, which most people don't include on their lists of "good" steakhouses oddly enough. Maybe I got lucky when I went, but the blue cheese crusted NY Strip I had at District Chophouse was awesome), though not for anywhere near the cost of Ray's. Don't get me wrong, the steak was among the best I've eaten, but after the hype I'd almost expected it to be another level above what I'd had before, which it wasn't quite. Still, I'll be going back any chance I get :-)

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Welcome, Treznor. Great first post. I think most of us share your hope that Ray's will come back once the new place gets going.

You have to read Ray's commentary with a grain of salt, I think. Landrum doesn't have customers so much as groupies :wink:, and it would be a rare restaurant that could live up to the praise they generate, regardless of cost. That he does so well, in a moderately-priced place is what makes Ray's special. I was talking to Chef Landrum one time and he looked a little bewildered aby the hype and said "all I want to be is a great neighborhood restaurant."

Hopefully, there will soon be two.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I was talking to Chef Landrum one time and he looked a little bewildered aby the hype and said "all I want to be is a great neighborhood restaurant." 

Hopefully, there will soon be two.

I've read that quote from him a couple times. At this point (may change with going back multilpe times, but I doubt it), it's probably one of the two restaurants that I'd actually consider in a decision on where to live, just to make sure it was a neighborhood restaurant :-) The other being Lost Dog Cafe, which has to be one of my favorite (if not -the- favorite) place to just go have a regular ole' meal. As I'm in Alexandria, I'm not exactly far away from either of them anyway.

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You have to read Ray's commentary with a grain of salt, I think.  Landrum doesn't have customers so much as groupies  :wink:,

But it is also the rare restaurant that has both the food and concept to inspire groupies. Think about how many good restaurants don't inspire that sort of passion.


Bill Russell

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What's the skinny now as of early April? I called the # and got the message suggesting several times that they are extremely small and they don't recommend making it a "destination" dining experience.

I have a couple of nights next week free for dinner during a business trip next week to DC and wondered what the chances might be of just popping in to get dinner for 2?

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What's the skinny now as of early April?  I called the # and got the message suggesting several times that they are extremely small and they don't recommend making it a "destination" dining experience.

I have a couple of nights next week free for dinner during a business trip next week to DC and wondered what the chances might be of just popping in to get dinner for 2?

Very strange as several weeks ago the message was almost identical except it said Ray's would be closing Sunday, March 26 until further notice. I called last week and the message said simply that Ray's was closed and to check the message board outside the place for updates.

Now that the message is back to old recording (minus the closing part) I'd say go around five thirty or quarter to six or so and see what the status is. We went some weeks ago and a couple ahead of us was told they could be seated (at six) but would have to leave by seven. We were told we could be seated at eight (with no restrictions) and we said okay. Mr. Landrum (Ray) said to leave a cell phone on as he'd call if anything came open earlier. We got no call but were seated when we stopped back at 7:45.

There are many restaurants, bars, stores, etc so it's easy to kill some time in the area if you can get a table after an hour or two. VERY worth it IMHO. DON'T miss the Key lime pie.

Thanks,

Kevin


DarkSide Member #005-03-07-06

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Made it to Ray's during a recent business trip to DC. The concierge at my hotel swore they were closed. We had stopped to ask her if Jaleo or another restaurant close by would be a good back up in case we couldn't get in, and she was certain they were still closed and offered to call. She did, and Michael himself answered and she told him we were coming over, he said no problem.

We didn't have to wait at all - this was a Tuesday night around 7 or 7:30 when we got there. Funny what "casual" means in a big city vs. the midwest (I'm in Cleveland). I bet that the women would be more dressed than the men so I suggested my dining companion (boss, male) wear khakis and a plain shirt and I wore black pants and a fun top. While there were a couple of men there in jeans, the women were all slightly more dressy, so I guessed right. Boss trusts my judgment on restaurants but was really thrilled when he read the hand-out from the server on how they age and cut and trim their steaks, etc. Very good sign.

Nice but small selection of wines by the glass. I ordered the pinot noir for boss and got the cab for me, both were excellent. We decided we'd be getting large steaks and so skipped salads and bread. I got the 12 oz strip, med. and boss got the 16. Both were done to perfection. It's one of my new year's resolutions to make myself eat my steak a little rarer than I'd like it because it's gauche to order medium-well and I know chefs and kitchens hate cooking the crap out of their steaks. I was glad I ordered mine medium. It was rarer than I'm used to but the meat was SO flavorful and tasty I just thought it was wonderful. I left just a little bit on the plate because a) that's a lot of meat and b) that particular part was just too rare for me to get down. But it was heaven. Boss was oohing and aahing over his steak and complimented me like 20 times on my choice of restaurant. We got the side of sauteed mushrooms, which complimented the steak perfectly. Steaks came served with the standard house sides of mashed pots and creamed spinach, which were also very good. We debated about getting one of the steaks in a mushroom brandy sauce but really wanted to taste the meat unadorned, and were glad we did.

I couldn't have eaten any more food if you used a shoehorn to get it in my stomach, so we skipped dessert/coffee, and were given small espresso-cup sized servings of a very rich, hot chocolate in lieu of dessert. OMG heaven. All of this for less than $80, no lie. The boss couldn't have been more pleased.

Michael came by a couple of times to see how things were and check on how we liked it, and we were effusive. It was a great experience. I'm so glad we were able to get in there during the trip.


Edited by rockandroller (log)

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No updates on the Silver Spring Ray's, aka Ray's Classic, but interested parties should know that the old Ray's in Arlington is offering -- iuntil Michael changes his mind -- a $20 bistro dinner featuring a Choice of: Crab Bisque, Onion Soup or a salad; choice of Hangar Steak or Salmon, in a couple of different preps each, and

Mashed Potatoes/Creamed Spinach.

The new no-res policy is reportedly working well, and lines are short.

Sounds like a good deal to me.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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No updates on the Silver Spring Ray's, aka Ray's Classic, but interested parties should know that the old Ray's in Arlington is offering -- iuntil Michael changes his mind -- a $20 bistro dinner.

The new no-res policy is reportedly working well, and lines are short.

It is a great deal. And if you order salmon, the price is $18 instead of $20. I ordered the salmon (choice of Diablo, blackened or grilled, I went with grilled) and received a very generous filet, perfectly prepared. The special offer is not on the menu, so don't hesitate to ask about it if the waitstaff does not mention it. There's also a wine special: a 2002 Condado de Haza for $38, down from $46. $18 for that meal is one of those too-good-to-be true deals, so get it while it's still there.

At 9:30 on a weeknight there place was still busy, but there were a couple of tables open and no wait. Chef Landrum explained the new system:

We are doing as much business, if not more, as before, but in a much more easy-going atmosphere. However, waits are minimal--usually 20-30 minutes, sometimes 45, rarely up to an hour and 15 minutes (our average dining time is and always was a comfortable 75-80 minutes despite all the whining). Those who arrive before 6:15 should be seated right away. No promises, but that is the way it has been working so far.

Sounds like Rays the Classic is mere weeks from opening - with a few of the usual building inspection issues to be resolved. Hoping for some good eating in June.

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I pass by Ray's the Classics almost every day. So far, nothing yet. I'm looking forward to eating there, though! Preferably with a Simpsons fan so we can quote that episode where Homer gets into a steak-eating contest with a trucker:

Cow with a martini glass in hoof: Look at him, he's only halfway through Walter and already he's hallucinating!


"I need another magnum of your best champagne here and bring us the finest food you got stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, Sir. Lobsters stuffed with tacos."

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Crackers beat me to the punch but Friday night, with a friend in town, at the end of a hellish workweek -- not the end actually, as both the Mrs. and I worked all weekend -- we decided that it would be cheaper and easier to Raydiate than to cook at home, where we routinely spend $20 a head anyway.

Boy did we make the right move. The steaks were great but, oddly, coming from a nice boy who speaks such good Hebrew, and made his bones with red meat, the uber-traife crab bisque may have been the best thing I've eaten in months. We washed it back with a Rully that proved that white Burgundy can actually be affordable and delish. And, when my Washington-snob buddy demanded a wine from the Pacific Northwest ("you're as close to Europe as you are to the Walla Walla, get out of the rut," I suggested, but she wanted a wine that shared the same Husky purple hue as her blood and alma mater), Senior Landrum came up with a Washington Cabernet would blow the doors off a good number of Bordeaux and Calis costing twice as much.

Service was a delight, my friends had a wonderful time and I may go back this week to get irRaydiated again. Work is still hell.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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As I was wife-less last Friday evening, I set out at 6:00pm for Ray's...other than the horrible traffic it was a totally uneventful trip to Arlington. One circuit through the parking lot to determine there was no parking, out on the street and, et voila! a parking space less than 2 blocks away. Walked to RTS, entered through the throngs waiting at the front and found Michael and asked for a table for one. "Give me 10 minutes"...sat in front in the glider watching the traffic for about 5 minutes and was seated. Michael looked totally relaxed and very laid back. I think the Hawaiian shirt and Bermudas and flip-flops had something to do with it. I ordered the $20 bistro hanger steak. Dinner started with the spicy cashews and the extremely good bread, followed by a very smooth glass of California Cabernet. Out came the first course, the crab bisque. What can you say about this bisque? It's wonderful, creamy and packed full of very good crab meat. This was followed by the house salad which is somewhat pedestrian (what else would you expect for a house salad) but was rescued from mediocrity by the dressing which was just a tiny bit spicy and very good. Then came the piece d'resistance, the hanger steak was a perfect medium rare. It was accompanied by the creamed spinach and mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, the veggie portion of dinner was somewhat ignored in favor of the steak. I tried, I really tried, to save some for my better half but my taste buds overwhelmed my resolve. So there were no left-overs in the steak department. Accompanying the bill was the demi-tasse of hot chocolate. A great ending to a great meal. If you haven't been to RTS since the DR dinner, you are missing an excellent meal and a tremendous bargain. I almost felt like I had stolen dinner it was so inexpensive. Thank you Michael.

(Posted previously on another board..the sentiments, however, are exactly the same)


Edited by tsure (log)

Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!

Tommy Smothers

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It's hard to believe that it has been almost 3 years since anyone has posted anything in this thread. A lot of water has gone under the bridge includinig the opening of Ray's the Classics in Silver Spring and Ray's Hell, the unbelievable burger place a few steps from RTS. The most current news is that Chef Michael Landrum intends to move his Ray's the Steaks format to a new location a few blocks up Wilson Blvd. effective February 3. He told me this Saturday evening when I dined at RTS. The rumor is that the current location will remain open with a prix fix menue at a lower price point with the terrific current menu migrating to the new location (he did not tell me this). All should be revealed in the next couple of weeks. I look forward to the new location with much anticipation.

Landrum, you ROCK.

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